As Switzerland gradually eases restrictions, we at WorldTempus were able to see Montblanc in their boutique in Geneva and hold pieces from Watches & Wonders 2020, rather than admire them through our backlit computer screens.
It felt like a breath of fresh air and, as it always does, allowed us to gain a deeper and more hands-on understanding of Montblanc’s growing offering, in particular the 1858 collection.
Davide Cerrato © Montblanc
Accompanied by Davide Cerrato, Managing Director of Montblanc’s watch division, he explained the overall vision for the brand’s core collection: addressing a sense of exploration and adventure through elegantly crafted watches. “We try to keep the thread with certain aesthetic codes throughout the 1858 collection,” said Cerrato. “It’s much easier now to build on the foundation we have built than it was to create out of almost nothing,” he continued.
1858 Geosphere © Montblanc
The new 1858 models to join the collection feature all the design codes that have made this collection increasingly distinct and recognisable over the years—cathedral-shaped hour and minute hands, the slim lugs curved slightly downwards for comfort, a knurled crown and the vintage-inspired Arabic numerals. These features lend themselves to all the different complications Montblanc chooses to bring to the 1858 collection—monopusher chronograph, split-second chronograph, worldtime and even a new 24h hand so the watch can be used as a compass.
Three models in particular during our private viewing, in my opinion, stood out the most: the new blue 1858 Geosphere, the blue enamel 1858 Split Second Chronograph limited edition and the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph in bronze with a honey-beige railway track.
1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition © Montblanc
The blue 1858 Geosphere and Split Second Chronograph showcase Montblanc excellent mastery of traditional craftmanship. On the blue Geosphere, the deep blue dial is complemented by a navy ceramic bidirectional bezel and the northern and southern hemisphere globes, on which the mountain peaks of the Seven Summit challenge are marked with tiny light blue dots. The Split Second Chronograph, limited to 100 pieces, sports an intensely blue grand feu enamel dial—something you don’t find very often in a sporty chronograph watch. This blend of traditional enamel in a sports watch marries itself surprisingly well in a design inspired by adventure and vintage chronographs and shows Montblanc’s unique take on a modern sports watch. And this traditional execution on the dial is only befitting of the chronograph “rattrapante” movement it houses, the MB M16.31 calibre, inspired by the original Minerva calibre 17.29 of the 1930s—fully visible through the sapphire caseback, it’s simply a stunning movement to see in motion.
1858 Monopusher Chronograph © Montblanc
We also got to see the bronze 1858 Monopusher Chronograph with a black dial and honey-beige railway track—it’s a sturdier looking piece, equally matching appropriate for the Montblanc adventurer, but presented here with three different straps/bracelet that completely change the style—a bi-metal bracelet with its central “rice grain” links in polished stainless and satin-finished rectangular titanium links on the outside, a beige NATO-style strap and an aged black leather Bund strap for a more vintage look (an option Cerrato told us they were testing out for the moment). Completely different personalities in the same watch—further proof of Montblanc’s strength in diverse products for a diverse clientele.